Dec 8, 2003
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Bush staged an elaborate ceremony at Washington's Constitution Hall as he signed into law Medicare legislation passed late in November. The legislation will force Medicare to compete with private plans and creates a prescription drug benefit that does not cover approximately $3,000 of the first $5,000 in prescription costs. An Emory University study estimates that 215,000 retirees in the state of New York will lose their employer-sponsored drug coverage under the new plan. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Manhattan and Queens), a staunch opponent of the bill, issued the following statement:

"This Administration has overlooked Democratic plans to create strong prescription drug benefits in favor of a new law that creates 'doughnut hole' prescription drug coverage and ruins Medicare. It's a damaging one-two combination.

"By making Medicare compete with private health plans, this law will force seniors into HMOs - and force them to pay higher premiums for doing so.

"Any bill that strips 215,000 New York retirees of their drug benefits is a bad bill to me. But that's not the only worrisome news. The much-ballyhooed prescription drug benefit actually leaves seniors uncovered for $3,000 out of their first $5,000 in drug costs. Means testing of Medicare will create higher premiums for certain seniors. And, in the end, Medicare will be privatized. Their attempt to revamp a most vital New Deal program is a historically Bad Deal for New Yorkers and Americans.

"Medicare was one of the most successful programs in the history of the United States. Today, the president signed Medicare as we know it into oblivion."